With Stamkos deal done, is Purcell next?
While the Lightning accomplished its main offseason goal – agreeing to terms with star center Steven Stamkos on a five-year, $37.5 million deal Tuesday – general manager Steve Yzerman still has some work to do with wing Teddy Purcell.
Yzerman had said last week he didn’t think it was “out of the question” they could reach a deal with Purcell before Wednesday’s scheduled arbitration hearing, but he’s in Toronto now preparing as if there will be one. He did say there's a chance he could chat with Purcell's agent, Kent Hughes, later this evening.
“We haven’t been able to reach an agreement, at this time,” Yzerman said earlier Tuesday afternoon. “There’s still obviously some time between now and tomorrow morning, but we’re here in Toronto preparing for our hearing in the morning.”
Purcell, 25, who made $750,000 last year, had a breakout season with career highs of 17 goals, 34 assists and 51 points in 81 games. He also had a very good postseason, with 17 points in 18 playoff games, and is expected to have a top-six role among forwards next year.
Yzerman said Tuesday he still feels optimistic Purcell will be on the team’s lineup this year, but may have to wait and see how it goes Wednesday. Yzerman has not said with 100 percent certainty the team would live with whatever the arbitrator ruled, but still seemed positive with how it’s going.
Hughes wasn’t immediately reached for comment.
“The uncertainty of the arbitration process, we all prepare for it and you’d like to think we have a general range of the outcome, the settlement or award by the arbitrator” Yzerman said. “You don’t know that for certain. Our hope is that whether it is tonight or through the arbitrator’s ruling... one way or another, will have an answer in the next couple days.”